Jump to content

Career switching advice

Students   (677 Views 8 Comments)
by Spartan05 Spartan05 (Member)

1,934 Profile Views; 76 Posts

Hello all:

I am currently working full-time and taking nursing prereqs in the hopes of applying to an accelerated program this fall for admission in January 2008. I have a prior degree and after getting internship experience in my field (engineering) I decided that I did not like the office environment and needed something more fufilling and hands-on. I've been doing quite a bit of research, volunteering, shadowing and talking to as many people as I can to learn as much as I can about this field. I feel like I don't want to make the same mistake twice (getting back into school and getting a degree that I don't want to use) so my question to anyone out here who can give me some advice, wisdom, or tips is this:

Do you ever really know for sure if you want to do something until you actually get into the field? I feel like in order to really go for something sometimes you just have to jump in and get your feet wet (basically nothing will substitute for your experience) but what else can I do to figure out if this is right for me?

user_online.gif report.gif progress.gif edit.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Are you a credible source? Add your Credentials, Experience, etc.

105 Posts; 1,950 Profile Views

Spartan 05 - while it isn't the same thing, you can take a short CNA course and work at a hospital on the weekends to see if it is something that you enjoy. If you know any nurses you could ask to shadow them for the day. You could even try calling the hospital if you don't know anyone personally and ask if you could shadow someone. Just some thoughts. Best of luck to you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WDWpixieRN is a RN and specializes in Med/Surg <1; Epic Certified <1.

2,237 Posts; 11,128 Profile Views

ffweste makes some good suggestions. I left a pretty decent IT job after just earning my bachelor's in '99. In the first 6 months I knew I hated it; after 6 years on the job, I was admitted to NS and have only looked back once or twice, lol!!

I have just completed my 2nd semester. My biggest problems have been contact with people after dealing with a PC for years. I have also had a huge fear of the pee/poop issues!! So far, I am managing fine.

I took an internship this summer in an ER and that is really helping me get much more comfortable in this environment. I think working as a tech prior to this would've been helpful, but probably like you, couldn't afford to give up my daytime job!! So, second to that, look for a shadowing opportunity and try to do it more than once if you can. Depending on where in a hospital you are interested in working, each day can be a little different!!

Best wishes!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Are you a credible source? Add your Credentials, Experience, etc.

76 Posts; 1,934 Profile Views

Thanks for the advice, after volunteering for a semester last spring I did set up a shadow in the OR and that reinforced that I felt I could do this job. I guess what I was really getting at is this:

Besides talking to people, volunteering, shadowing, etc. what else can I do, or what questions should I really ask myself before I dive into school. I've sort of realize now that you can't even be 100% sure until you start doing something, nursing school will probably give me an even better picture of the role of an RN and if I make it through that, working as a RN will probably open my eyes even more.

I guess the real question that I am struggling with than is if you can't be 100% sure of something how sure should I feel before investing my time, money and energy into nursing school?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WDWpixieRN is a RN and specializes in Med/Surg <1; Epic Certified <1.

2,237 Posts; 11,128 Profile Views

I honestly don't know what to tell you about that. If I did, I probably wouldn't still be searching at this age for a good fit. I spent many years at home with my kids, so I'm a bit behind the 8-ball career wise @ 51 years of age.

I still sometimes wonder that I'm making the right decision. Heaven knows there are so many options out there and I'm sure there are many I haven't even heard of. If I had a choice and money wasn't a concern, there are other things I would probably prefer doing -- clerking at a Hallmark store comes to mind, lol! I also hated the thought of returning to school only to decide I didn't like this career but time is running out for me to make too many new starts!!

One of the big driving points after spending 6 years in a job where I felt like my options were always going to be: M-F, 8 to 5, in a cubicle with a PC, different employer's name on my paycheck, was the amount of choices I would have as an RN. You're young; do you have kids yet or plan to? Lots of scheduling options with nursing, full-time, part-time, prn, and PAID overtime!! lol

Look around on these boards under the Specialties. And I think that's just the tip of the iceberg if you're driven enough or willing to seek out opportunities -- you can go back to an office and work for an MD, do same-day surgery, work in pharmacy or equipment sales, work in a school setting, etc. You can advance your education and work as a physician's assistant or do anesthesiology. There were a ton of nurse anesthetists the day I did my OR observation.

I also know I was looking for something more fulfilling than what I was doing in my IT world. Most days so far, I think I have found it. It's much more physically taxing, and sometimes emotionally so also. I have run across nurses who have been doing this for 25+ years and they can't imagine ever doing anything else. There are others who have been out there with much less time who absolutely hate it.

I wish you the best....it ain't easy, that's for sure!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Are you a credible source? Add your Credentials, Experience, etc.

1,714 Posts; 8,549 Profile Views

I pretty much agree with wdwpixie - one of the best things about nursing is the number of options you have with your degree. You can work psych, ER, OR, peds, hospice, or anything in between. If you don't like bedside nursing you can go into management or you can work for an insurance or a drug company. You can become a nursing educator, an NP, CNS, or a CRNA. If you get bored easily you can float to different floors every shift. You can do research...and I'm sure I'm still missing a few things. I think it would be hard to hate every aspect of nursing, and hopefully more than one will suit you. Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Are you a credible source? Add your Credentials, Experience, etc.

76 Posts; 1,934 Profile Views

I honestly don't know what to tell you about that. If I did, I probably wouldn't still be searching at this age for a good fit. I spent many years at home with my kids, so I'm a bit behind the 8-ball career wise @ 51 years of age.

I still sometimes wonder that I'm making the right decision. Heaven knows there are so many options out there and I'm sure there are many I haven't even heard of. If I had a choice and money wasn't a concern, there are other things I would probably prefer doing -- clerking at a Hallmark store comes to mind, lol! I also hated the thought of returning to school only to decide I didn't like this career but time is running out for me to make too many new starts!!

One of the big driving points after spending 6 years in a job where I felt like my options were always going to be: M-F, 8 to 5, in a cubicle with a PC, different employer's name on my paycheck, was the amount of choices I would have as an RN. You're young; do you have kids yet or plan to? Lots of scheduling options with nursing, full-time, part-time, prn, and PAID overtime!! lol

Look around on these boards under the Specialties. And I think that's just the tip of the iceberg if you're driven enough or willing to seek out opportunities -- you can go back to an office and work for an MD, do same-day surgery, work in pharmacy or equipment sales, work in a school setting, etc. You can advance your education and work as a physician's assistant or do anesthesiology. There were a ton of nurse anesthetists the day I did my OR observation.

I also know I was looking for something more fulfilling than what I was doing in my IT world. Most days so far, I think I have found it. It's much more physically taxing, and sometimes emotionally so also. I have run across nurses who have been doing this for 25+ years and they can't imagine ever doing anything else. There are others who have been out there with much less time who absolutely hate it.

I wish you the best....it ain't easy, that's for sure!!

Thank you for such a thoughtful reply to my post. To echo your point above, I do like the idea of flexibility within nursing as a field. In addition to bedside and all the units within a hospital, my eyes have been opened recently to the teaching, research and a host of other opportunities once you become an RN. As of right now I am very interested in surgery (OR Nurse and perhaps CRNA) but there is a ton out there that I do not know about and I am open to learning.

I find it sort of funny that people outside of nursing tend to think that the hours "suck" but people in the field are telling me about the great flexibility you have....I sort of don't know which side is telling the truth. Personally, I would rather work less days and more time each day. I think it would be cool to be there for my kids (when I have them) and chaperone field trips, etc. on my days off but at the same time I can see how it could be difficult to not see them for two days if I am working 14 hour shifts each day.

Finally, part of the reason I am trying so hard to find an answer I feel comfortable with is that quite honestly when I started college I didn't know what I wanted to do, I didn't take into account whether I thought I was a people person, I liked office versus nonoffice work, etc. I was really just an 18 year old guy who was good at math and science and my dad was an engineer and everyone was talking about how good of a field it was.....well it is a good field, but being a little older I realize that there is a difference between "good" and "good for you." So I am sort of trying to find a career or at least a field that I feel passionate and interested in (that I can also make a successful career out and and provide for my wife and kids once I get to that stage of my life) and once I find that, find out what I need to do to get there (sort of the exact opposite of getting done with a degree program and than trying to find a job that you like).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WDWpixieRN is a RN and specializes in Med/Surg <1; Epic Certified <1.

2,237 Posts; 11,128 Profile Views

Well, seeing as how you're a guy, I will tell you that in the ER where I am interning, there are 4 big burly male RNs....two of who have "25+ years" stickers on their badges!!

I will also say that the working hours are totally subjective and that's going to be your "truth"....I started out working shiftwork right after graduation from HS. I dispatched for a large sheriff's department and never minded the hours a bit. I tend to be a bit of a nightowl anyway and clinicals are absolutely kicking my butt w/0630 mornings!! My internship is much better hours -- 10 a.m. - 10 p.m., but they have other 12-hour options as well as some 8 hour shifts around the clock.

My kids are grown; I don't mind working alternating weekends or holidays. Do I want to work them all? Nah....but from what I've seen, there aren't a lot of hard and fast set shifts so, you give, you get. I spoke to a nurse last night who was telling me her schedule and said even when she worked nights it was great when her kids were little as she never minded getting up to run to school for a classroom party or a field trip and it was great to have the flexibility.

I will also say that having stayed home with my kids and then being a student for a large part of their older years, I found that when I returned to that office job, I ABSOLUTELY HATED working M-F with the rest of the world and then fighting grocery aisle and mall traffic with the rest of the folks who worked "normal hours". I drove downtown and spent an extra 1 - 3 hours of my workday/life each day in traffic. My company allowed some flex scheduling, with the approval of your direct manager. Lucky me, I worked for one manager who "didn't believe in it" and therefore didn't allow it for his team. All the while, I'm watching folks in the same area w/a different manager work all kinds of flexible hours. I knew I didn't want anyone to have the kind of power over me again.

My last couple of thoughts -- you are right when you mention good, and good for you....Oprah has done some shows and articles in her magazine about that...you can find all kinds of thoughts on this subject on the web....you will also talk to people and can find threads where attorneys, doctors, engineers, and other "professionals" have switched to nursing for various reasons (I'm sure they do other things as well, but staying on topic here...). Additionally, there are statistics about the number of times people change careers during their lifetimes -- I don't think 3, 4, or 5 changes are considered outlandish these days. You are young; keep that in mind. Life's too short to be miserable in any capacity.

And lastly, there will be parts or areas of nursing school you will not like or take to -- I have been told many times over to just do whatever I have to do to get through it and pass the NCLEX. The real rewards and learning will take place after graduation when you are working in a unit where you want to be. You will also find various thoughts on the subject of med/surg experience v. going directly to an assignment you are interested in after graduation. For me, particularly at this age, I am working toward going directly in to an area that interests me. Again -- life's too short!!

Have you checked out Johnson & Johnson's nursing website?!? Another source of good info...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×